This dog team, loaded with mail, was en route between Moose Pass and Kenai, circa 1920s. (Photo courtesy of Jim Taylor.)

You’ve got mail, Kenai … eventually

Receiving mail a century ago in roadless Kenai, Alaska, was no easy matter.

This dog team, loaded with mail, was en route between Moose Pass and Kenai, circa 1920s. (Photo courtesy of Jim Taylor.)
Photo from the Culverson Collection, Anchorage Museum of History and Art 
The Jean Lake shelter cabin in this undated photo belonged originally to a homesteader who gave permission to the Alaska Road Commission to upgrade the structure and use it as part of the overland winter mail route in the early 20th century.

You’ll get mail, Kenai … eventually (Part 2)

This is second part of a two-part story about the early development of mail delivery in Kenai.

Photo from the Culverson Collection, Anchorage Museum of History and Art 
The Jean Lake shelter cabin in this undated photo belonged originally to a homesteader who gave permission to the Alaska Road Commission to upgrade the structure and use it as part of the overland winter mail route in the early 20th century.
Image courtesy Clark Fair 
In 1920, two years after the killings in Kenai, William Dawson had a new business partner, Emil Berg. When they witnessed this bill of sale, both men signed their names to the document.

Exerting control in Old Kenai — Part 7

This is the seventh and final installment in a series about two killings that occurred in Kenai on April 8, 1918.

Image courtesy Clark Fair 
In 1920, two years after the killings in Kenai, William Dawson had a new business partner, Emil Berg. When they witnessed this bill of sale, both men signed their names to the document.
The Brunswick pin setter at the Sky Bowl in Soldotna in June 1960, when Tony Bordenelli set a world record for endurance bowling. (Cheechako News photographs courtesy of the KPC Anthropology Lab Archive)

Tony Bordenelli, the conquering kegler

In the end, he had bowled 1,008 straight games in 79 hours and 45 minutes.

The Brunswick pin setter at the Sky Bowl in Soldotna in June 1960, when Tony Bordenelli set a world record for endurance bowling. (Cheechako News photographs courtesy of the KPC Anthropology Lab Archive)
Part of the grave marker for Cleveland L. Magill. (Photo courtesy Clark Fair)

Exerting control in Old Kenai — Part 6

The sixth installment in a series about two killings that occurred in Kenai on April 8, 1918.

Part of the grave marker for Cleveland L. Magill. (Photo courtesy Clark Fair)
This headline about the killings in Kenai appeared in the Cordova Daily Times four days after the incident.

Exerting control in Old Kenai — Part 5

The fifth installment in a series about two killings that occurred in Kenai on April 8, 1918

This headline about the killings in Kenai appeared in the Cordova Daily Times four days after the incident.
Photo from the Kenai Historical Society 
Peter F. “Frenchy” Vian and William N. Dawson, co-owners of this store in Kenai, pose on the front porch, circa 1911-12. Vian was instrumental in helping to have Alex Ryan imprisoned in 1908.

Exerting control in Old Kenai — Part 4

This is the fourth installment in a series about two killings that occurred in Kenai on April 8, 1918.

Photo from the Kenai Historical Society 
Peter F. “Frenchy” Vian and William N. Dawson, co-owners of this store in Kenai, pose on the front porch, circa 1911-12. Vian was instrumental in helping to have Alex Ryan imprisoned in 1908.
Photo from “Once Upon the Kenai” 
William N. Dawson chats with Captain Rose, of the S.S. Tyonic, in front of Dawson’s Kenai store in 1915.

Exerting Control in Old Kenai — Part 2

The second installment in a series about two killings that occurred in Kenai on April 8, 1918.

Photo from “Once Upon the Kenai” 
William N. Dawson chats with Captain Rose, of the S.S. Tyonic, in front of Dawson’s Kenai store in 1915.
Friends of Elmer Gaede effect repairs to the doctor’s Maule Rocket airplane, which crashed a short distance from Forest Lane between Soldotna and Sterling on Aug. 2, 1967. The airplane was eventually made “fly-able” again and was sold in the early 1970s. (Photo courtesy of the Gaede Collection)

Dr. Gaede drops in, Part 2

By Clark Fair For the Peninsula Clarion Author’s note: This is Part Two of a three-part story of an airplane crash more than a half-century… Continue reading

Friends of Elmer Gaede effect repairs to the doctor’s Maule Rocket airplane, which crashed a short distance from Forest Lane between Soldotna and Sterling on Aug. 2, 1967. The airplane was eventually made “fly-able” again and was sold in the early 1970s. (Photo courtesy of the Gaede Collection)
White men and women in Kenai tended to congregate with people like themselves. This typical outing, in Kasilof, includes (far left, back row) Hans P. Nielsen, superintendent of the Agricultural Experiment Station. (Photo from the Alaska Digital Archives)

Exerting control in Old Kenai — Part 3

This is the third installment in a series about two killings that occurred in Kenai on April 8, 1918.

White men and women in Kenai tended to congregate with people like themselves. This typical outing, in Kasilof, includes (far left, back row) Hans P. Nielsen, superintendent of the Agricultural Experiment Station. (Photo from the Alaska Digital Archives)
A few days after surviving an Aug. 2, 1967, crash in this single-engine Maule Rocket, Dane Parks poses near the front end of the wreckage. (Photo courtesy

Dr. Gaede drops in, Part 3

This is Part Three of a three-part story of an airplane crash more than a half-century ago.

A few days after surviving an Aug. 2, 1967, crash in this single-engine Maule Rocket, Dane Parks poses near the front end of the wreckage. (Photo courtesy
In the early 1890s, one of the few men willing to stand up against the bullying and brutality of Alex Ryan was the Russian Orthodox priest, Father Alexander Yaroshevich. (Photo from the Alaska Digital Archives)

Exerting control in Old Kenai — Part 1

This is a complex tale of a changing Kenai and of four men — not just the two dead ones — and their perhaps inevitable fatal collision.

In the early 1890s, one of the few men willing to stand up against the bullying and brutality of Alex Ryan was the Russian Orthodox priest, Father Alexander Yaroshevich. (Photo from the Alaska Digital Archives)
Four-year-old Lowell Fair indicates the backseat of the Fair family stationwagon during a 1972 photo-op set up by his father. (Photo courtesy of the Fair Family Collection)

Sometimes you just gotta laugh

This is the story of one of my favorite family photographs.

Four-year-old Lowell Fair indicates the backseat of the Fair family stationwagon during a 1972 photo-op set up by his father. (Photo courtesy of the Fair Family Collection)
Dr. Elmer Gaede relaxes at home a few weeks after his airplane crash. His facial hair and glasses hide much of his scarring. (Photo courtesy of the Gaede Collection)

Dr. Gaede drops in, Part 1

Part 1 of a three-part story of a single-engine airplane crash more than a half-century ago.

Dr. Elmer Gaede relaxes at home a few weeks after his airplane crash. His facial hair and glasses hide much of his scarring. (Photo courtesy of the Gaede Collection)
In 1964, two years after the Fairs moved to their homestead at the end of Forest Lane, Calvin Fair took this photo from neighbor Dan France’s SuperCub. Note the dearth of large trees in the foreground, where the 1947 Kenai Burn wiped out much of the hillside forest. (Courtesy Fair Family Collection.

One man’s misfortune becomes my family’s good fortune

Without his misfortune, almost everything changes for me.

In 1964, two years after the Fairs moved to their homestead at the end of Forest Lane, Calvin Fair took this photo from neighbor Dan France’s SuperCub. Note the dearth of large trees in the foreground, where the 1947 Kenai Burn wiped out much of the hillside forest. (Courtesy Fair Family Collection.
This is the 1908 birth certificate of Russell Martin Wagner. (Certificate courtesy of ancestry.com)

When the Kenai had just one full-time dentist, Part 1

Wagner graduated from dental school at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco.

This is the 1908 birth certificate of Russell Martin Wagner. (Certificate courtesy of ancestry.com)
Russell Wagner graduated from the dental school within the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco in the spring of 1931. Shortly thereafter, he made his first trip to Seward. (Photo courtesy of college archives)

When the Kenai had just one full-time Dentist, Part 2

Part One discussed how Dr. Russell Wagner, the Kenai Peninsula’s only full-time dentist in 1960.

Russell Wagner graduated from the dental school within the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco in the spring of 1931. Shortly thereafter, he made his first trip to Seward. (Photo courtesy of college archives)
Photo from the Anchorage Museum of History and Art 
Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.

The multitalented D.H. Sleem, Part two

Syrian-born David Hassan Sleem settled in Seward in 1903.

Photo from the Anchorage Museum of History and Art 
Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.
Anchorage Museum of History and Art
Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.

The multitalented D.H. Sleem, Part one

Most people, if they have heard of D.H. Sleem at all, know the name because of his Alaska maps.

Anchorage Museum of History and Art
Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.
Walter and Beverly Christensen are shown in a newspaper photo in their Clam Gulch store and post office, probably in the 1960s. (Photo provided by Mona Painter)

From Nomadic Life to Stability

The Journey of Beverly Christensen — Part 3

Walter and Beverly Christensen are shown in a newspaper photo in their Clam Gulch store and post office, probably in the 1960s. (Photo provided by Mona Painter)